Published: Thursday 17 September 2020

A Carmarthenshire couple have paid special thanks to the Children’s Wales Air Ambulance after the lifesaving charity flew their ‘special cargo’ home from a hospital in Bristol.

Arwel Davies and Leah Evans’ baby Ella was born by planned c-section at St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol, after a routine ultrasound scan showed that Ella had a rare congenital heart condition.

Little Ella was born on October 5th – her grandmother’s birthday and weighed 6lb 2oz, she spent eight weeks in NICU. Ella was diagnosed with the cardiac condition Scimitar Syndrome, whilst still in the womb. She also has born with her heart on the right side of her body and had tracheoesophageal fistula, meaning she was unable to swallow due to an abnormally formed oesophagus.

After undergoing an operation and spending nine weeks in the hospital in Bristol, Ella was ready to be moved to a hospital closer to her home in Cross Hands.

The Children’s Wales Air Ambulance medics were on hand to transport because it was quicker and safer if a detour was needed. Ella’s parents were unable to join their firstborn in the air ambulance.

On board the aircraft were Helicopter Transfer Practitioner Andrew Morris, pilots James Grenfell and Richard Axon, along with two neonatal specialists from Singleton Hospital in Swansea.

Speaking about the return journey back to Wales, her dad, said: “This is where the magnificent team came into play. We were expecting a road ambulance transfer back to Wales, however on the morning of our departure we were told our Ella would be travelling home in style aboard one of the air ambulances.

“It’s such an important service. For us it was just so reassuring knowing she would be home so quick. Leah and I were a little nervous as our previous little cargo were being flown home without us, however, the crew were so friendly and reassuring, we knew she was in safe hands.”

Ella is doing really well now but still has regular dilatations on her oesophagus in Bristol.

Her parents said she will grow up knowing about her flight back home to Wales, Arwel, said: “As she grows up and becomes more aware of things we’ll definitely be telling her about her special little trip home in the helicopter and be reminding her of that every time we see one of the aircraft. She still has the little cuddly bear that the crew gave her as a keepsake of her little trip.”

The Children's Wales Air Ambulance is a specialist division of the charity, providing the expert care and transport required for paediatric and neonatal patients. The charity helps

around 400 children and babies a year, either on emergency 999 missions or like Ella by using our dedicated transfer helicopter.